Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor told us on Oct. 30 that Gumz is finished with harvest. “We have everything under cover, and the crop is in good shape,” he said. “We had some rain at harvest toward the end, but we were able to get all the onions in, and our quality is very good.” Also, Doug reported, “The demand is pretty steady. In the last couple of weeks, we had lower than desired pricing because it appeared some shippers needed to move some onions, but we’ve moved past that now. We have a good supply on medium and jumbo reds.”
Kansas/Colorado and Washington:
Matt Murphy with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, said on Oct. 30 that L&M’s Kansas/Colorado program has finished for the season. “We will be officially finished filling commitments early next week, but we don’t have any availability out of Kansas and Colorado,” Matt said. “It was a great season for us there, and we are pleased with demand and shipments.” Matt said that the harvest in Warden, WA, is complete. “We have everything in the barn in Washington, and about 95 percent was totally unaffected by weather issues during harvest. And we are very pleased about that.” He continued, “We were lucky that the harvest weather we had wasn’t as severe as in some areas.” Matt also noted that demand has started to pick up this week. “We got an encouraging flurry at the end of last week when buyers started waking up from PMA. We feel pretty good about demand moving forward. It’s not on fire or anything, but it is definitely getting better. The market is showing signs of strengthening, too. Now that everyone is starting to get a handle of what they have to market, we are optimistic that the market will settle out and we will know what we are dealing with for the season.” He said that now that the cold is starting to settle in, “everyone will be shipping reefers, and that should help stabilize the market too. Everyone can be on the same playing field. We feel good about the season moving forward.”
John Harris with Paradigm Fresh in Fort Morgan connected with us on Monday, Oct. 28, to say it was “15 degrees and a little snow here in Colorado this morning.” He continued, “It’s pretty cold most places, and we are officially in reefer weather it appears.” Colorado wasn’t the only location with frigid temps, with John remarking on the scheduled high of 9F for Ontario, OR, overnight Oct. 29. While growers were dealing with freezes and late harvest in several regions, John said the markets “are steady, and we saw demand increase a bit last week.” He added, “It would be nice is if we can use that as a steppingstone and just continue to build from there. Average daily shipments increased by about 50 loads per day last week up from the previous three weeks.” Good daily movement, he said, “would be considered anything above 400 per day. We are hovering in the 350-385 range, so we are getting close.” The holidays are also factoring in. “Thanksgiving is a month out, which is just unbelievable to me, but that uptick in movement is around the corner.” Additional volume “means trucks will be a little more expensive, and FOB prices on some items will firm up a bit,” he said. “I look for whites to go up a couple of dollars. I don’t necessarily see reds and yellow process going up as much as I see them firming up with very little fluctuation in FOB from shed to shed like there is now.”
Colorado Western Slope/Corinne, UT:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said his operation is running onions from the Western Slope now, with all onions in storage. “The boys in Utah will start running Monday or Tuesday of next week, with yellows to start and whites and reds available on demand. “Colorado is rolling right along,” he said. The late harvest and early freeze resulted in some loss of volume, and Don Ed said the entire Western Slope was in that situation. But he noted that quality is good, and all three colors are available.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX, said on Oct. 30 that “everything is percolating” on the Western Slope. “We expect to pack next week,” he said, noting weather losses were about 25-30 percent of the crop. “But we harvested the best,” he said, adding that the growers had been working 20-hour days to bring the onions in. “We’ll have all three colors to start, and we’ll be ready to blast off for the Thanksgiving pull next week.” Calling demand “higher than it has been for the last two weeks,” David said IF there is an effect from the weather, “I don’t think we’ll see it until March or April.” And, he said, “The quality is very good on what we have in storage, with bigger sizes and a better mix of colors.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, said on Oct. 30, “It’s cold and clear here, and it’s supposed to be in the 50s by this weekend. Farmers are harvesting sugar beets and prepping ground for fall work.” Onion demand, he said, “is regular business.” He added, “Nothing is pressing, and the market is steady. Back East is busy watching the World Series, and Woo is getting ready for trick-or-treaters.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us Oct. 30 that “demand for us has been fairly steady the past few weeks.” He said, “Colossals have been in stronger demand than other sizes this week.” About the market, Steve said, “The market has been very steady. Pricing hasn’t changed much the past two weeks. We hope to see some increase in price since everything is in storage. Just have to see how things play out the next few weeks.” And he said, “We have good availability on all colors and sizes this week except for colossals. Quality has been very good on all three colors.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, reported on Oct. 30 that things are going smoothly for his “free-range biz.” He said, “We are done with Kansas shipments and are shipping onions out of Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Michigan. Quality has been absolutely excellent, and demand for holiday orders is starting to kick in across the board for all colors and sizes.” Rick continued, “Retail business has picked up, and demand for jumbo yellows is strong, as usual.” He also noted that the market is steady. “Prices are holding, and it looks like things are settling out. Freight is on the rise with the transition to reefers, but trucks are plentiful. You just have to pay for them. With Wyoming routes being open and closed, you do have to mindful of the lanes you’re choosing and what makes sense for shipments.” He concluded, “Overall, we can’t complain. We’re just pluggin’ along, getting onions and potatoes (which are on fire right now) out the door.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Oct. 30 his growers are finishing planting in Mexico for the season’s start in late January or early February.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX, said on Oct. 30 Tampico is “100 percent in the ground, and the Southern District stuff will come off in April.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on Oct. 30 he has another two weeks of planting in South Texas. “We put in some of our onions a little earlier than usual, and right now they’re just beautiful,” he said. The 1015 season traditionally starts at the end of March following Mexico.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission said on Oct. 30 planting will “finish in the Rio Grande Valley in a day or two,” and then we’ll start planting in Winter Garden for May-June production.” He said the RGV crop is “overall pretty spread out, and we’ll find out in the spring how much product there is.”